Explore Albania in Europe

Country Guide

Map of the area of  in

Albania with its capital Tirana is located in Europe (Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea). It covers some 28,749 square kilometres (slightly smaller than Maryland) with 3,619,000 citizens. Albanian, Greek and Modern (1453-) are the languages spoken by people in Albania (consider regional differences). Macedonia, Greece, Montenegro and Serbia are bordering countries.

Albania is a small country in the Balkans. The relative majority of the people in Albania are of Muslim heritage (70-80%), Albania also has a large number of religious minorities (mainly Albanian Orthodox and Roman Catholic-the largest Christian minorities in Europe along with Bosnia and Herzegovina). Traditional Albanian culture honors the role and person of the guest. In return for this place of honor, respect is expected from the guest. Albanians enjoy the long walks the city streets, drinking coffee, and among the younger generations, partaking in nightlife activities such as cafe lounging and dancing. It's an extremely poor country by European standards.


Landscape, climate and basic hints for travelling

The topography features mostly mountains and hills with small plains along coast. The average density of population is about 126 per km². The climate in Albania can be described as mild temperate with cool, cloudy, wet winters, hot, clear, dry summers, interior being cooler and wetter. Potential natural disasters are destructive earthquakes or tsunamis occur along southwestern coast, floods or drought.

To reach someone in Albania dial +355 prior to a number. There are 363,000 installed telephones. And there are 4,162,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks operate on frequencies of 900, 1800 Mhz. Websites typically end with the top level domain ".al". If you want to bring electric appliances (e.g. battery charger), keep in mind the local 220V - 50Hz.

Learn more on our Albanian Facts page.

Description of the flag of Albania

Red with a black two-headed eagle in the center; the design is claimed to be that of 15th-century hero George Castriota SKANDERBEG, who led a successful uprising against the Turks that resulted in a short-lived independence for some Albanian regions (1443-78); an unsubstantiated explanation for the eagle symbol is the tradition that Albanians see themselves as descendants of the eagle; they refer to themselves as "Shkypetars," which translates as "sons of the eagle".

National administrative regions of Albania

Historical background information

Albania declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, but was conquered by Italy in 1939. Communist partisans took over the country in 1944. Albania allied itself first with the USSR (until 1960), and then with China (to 1978). In the early 1990s, Albania ended 46 years of xenophobic Communist rule and established a multiparty democracy. The transition has proven challenging as successive governments have tried to deal with high unemployment, widespread corruption, dilapidated infrastructure, powerful organized crime networks, and combative political opponents. Albania has made progress in its democratic development since first holding multiparty elections in 1991, but deficiencies remain. International observers judged elections to be largely free and fair since the restoration of political stability following the collapse of pyramid schemes in 1997; however, each of Albania's post-Communist elections have been marred by claims of electoral fraud. The 2009 general elections resulted in a coalition government, the first such in the country''s history. Albania joined NATO in April 2009 and is a potential candidate for EU accession. Although Albania''s economy continues to grow, the country is still one of the poorest in Europe, hampered by a large informal economy and an inadequate energy and transportation infrastructure.

Learn more on our Albanian Facts page.

Based on the content from wikitravel.org. The original article can be found here based on the work of these users. Geography information is based on the data provided by geonames.org, CIA world facts book Edition 2010 and 2013, Unesco, DBpedia, wikipedia and others.